598 episodes

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

Back to Work 5by5

    • Technology
    • 4.7 • 2K Ratings

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

    Episode 599: Self-Involved at Scale

    Episode 599: Self-Involved at Scale

    DISCUSSED: a classic odds n' sods episode encompassing a missing remote (and a failed system), some wallet FU, cool help with playlist management, unsubscribing in dribs and drabs, and a big-ass RV.


    Links:
    We Toured The Most FUTURISTIC Motorhome in the World! - YouTubeBuilding a Camper I can Tow with my Bike... Detailed Build - YouTubeChatGPTNo. 3236: The Humble Index Card — Today, the humble index card. The University of Houston presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them.

    Soundiiz - Transfer playlists and favorites between different streaming servicesAmazon: Your Email SubscriptionsAvoiding Cloudy Iced Tea | Cook's Illustrated — Cloudiness in tea is caused by caffeine and tannins bonding with each other when tea is refrigerated or iced.Why is my Iced Tea Cloudy? | Red Rose — To prevent cloudy iced tea, you should allow the tea to cool down to room temperature before you add any ice or cold water.Inside (2023) - IMDb‎Merlin's Weird Movies for Weirdos, a list of films by Merlin Mann • Letterboxd — Keep yourself occupied with these weird movies for weirdos. I want so many more movies like these.

    ‎Some Next-Level Shit, a list of films by Merlin Mann • Letterboxd — This is movie fandom on Difficult Mode.Solar Lights Outdoor, AmeriTop Super Bright 1600LM LED 6000K Solar Motion Sensor Lights with Wide Angle Illumination; 3 Adjustable Heads, IP65 Waterproof Outdoor Security Lighting (White) - - AmazonSmile — a/k/a "Solar Boy"Touring the MOST EXPENSIVE HOUSE in the United States! - YouTube

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Episode 598: Chewbacca Credit Union

    Episode 598: Chewbacca Credit Union

    Merlin is still on Island Time, so discussion is mostly limited to Columbo, Star Wars, Merlin's playlists, Ellsworth, and, of course, wallets.







    Links:
    "Columbo" The Most Crucial Game (TV Episode 1972) - IMDbA Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again - Wikipedia — "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (Harper's, 1996, under the title "Shipping Out"): Wallace's experiences and opinions on a seven-night luxury Caribbean cruise.What purpose does Chewbacca's bandoiler have? - QuoraThe Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special | Disney+ OriginalsVinegar - Tube Cleaner on the App StoreQuote by Ellsworth: “I’ll tell you what…”Jack Cassidy - IMDb — Fact: the great Jack Cassidy played three (3) different characters on "Columbo."Spotify – “No More Than a Thought” - A Gentle Introduction to Old 97’s — Some older bangers from your new favorite Christmas band.Spotify – “Always Talking to Myself” - A Gentle Introduction to The Police — Were you aware that The Police were once one of our most vital and exhilarating rock bands? No, really—I get it. But, if you never got that into them from THOSE songs, maybe try these.Spotify – “Fit Them Where They Belong” - A Gentle Introduction to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists — A band's band with songs so great you'd be forgiven for not immediately noticing how terrific the musicians are.Spotify – “The Switchback Will Make You Crazy“ - A Gentle Introduction to Richard ThompsonSpotify – “In a Nutshell” - A Gentle Introduction to Michael Penn — Getting started with one of the great, under-appreciated pop geniuses of my generation. No, seriously.

    • 54 min
    Episode 597: The Bronze Hour

    Episode 597: The Bronze Hour

    DISCUSSED: Dan has a new concern; some thoughts on resistance; Merlin shares a new insight on creativity and sleep; Dan has FU directly from the Nosferatu band; Merlin serves a turducken of suggestions related to text editing; and, finally, Dan needs your advice on wallets, while Merlin makes a case for currency.







    Links:
    Finding a native and fast text editor for the Mac in 2022・The Jolly TeapotThe Archive (macOS) • Zettelkasten MethodA Beginner’s Guide to the Zettelkasten Method | ZenkitController for HomeKit 6.0The First Minute of Every Phone Call Is Torture Now - The Atlantic — Technology is a condition. Like the weather, or the economy, or the pandemic, or traffic, or parenting.Purkinje effect - WikipediaTriangle of Sadness - WikipediaM - The Criterion ChannelX - See How We Are - (Acoustic) - YouTubeChloë Grace Moretz Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED - YouTubeThe Crown (season 5) - WikipediaThe Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) - Reference View - IMDb — Where ☝️ that image ☝️ comes from.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Episode 596: Turkey Legs in the Renaissance

    Episode 596: Turkey Legs in the Renaissance

    DISCUSSED: Merlin is playing with his new dingus; Dan almost talks about wallets; try Tailscale to make your stuff work better together; why you (yes, you) need a VPN; Dan is getting enthused about Obsidian; Merlin is freshly re-enthused about Daytum; and finally Dan is very excited about a Dracula he saw.
    Links:
    Tailscale · Best VPN Service for Secure NetworksHow to create your own VPN with Tailscale to get around stupid free WiFi network rules and protect your traffic – A Whole Lotta NothingMidea Cube 50 Pint Dehumidifier for Basement and Rooms at Home for up to 4,500 Sq. Ft., Smart Control, Works with Alexa (White), Drain Hose Included, ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2022 : Everything ElseVocaster Two | FocusriteAmazon.com: Focusrite Vocaster Two — Podcasting Interface for Recording Host and Guest. Two Mic Inputs and Two Headphone Outputs, with Auto Gain, Enhance, and Mute. Small, Lightweight, and Powered by Computer : Everything ElseObsidianVocaster Two: Twice the features, twice the price – Six ColorsBasic Editing in Visual Studio CodeDaytum — Daytum helps you collect, categorize and communicate your everyday data.About • DaytumInvincible Czars - NosferatuNosferatu Centennial DVD Download (link) - Invincible CzarsNosferatu Death Ship - Invincible Czars Soundtrack - YouTubeGuardian Firewall - Guardian FirewallWipr — Enjoy a cleaner web.Ad Blocker TestAdBlock Tester: test your AdBlock extensionsCan You Block It ? - A Simple Ad Block TesterQuarto

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Episode 595: Blessèd Vessel

    Episode 595: Blessèd Vessel

    DISCUSSED: Halloween Follow-Up; exit interview for Season 4 of What We Do in the Shadows; how Apple could build users' confidence and stimulate their curiosity with better documentation; Merlin makes his case for spreadsheets as your potential place where stuff goes.


    Links:
    K-Strass the Yo-Yo Guy Super Compilation - YouTubePSA: You can stop/silence the alarm on a family sharing member's iPhone, via Siri on your phone. : iphone — `Hey Siri, turn off the alarm on $Person's ‌iPhone‌`Mac keyboard shortcuts - Apple Support — "By pressing certain key combinations, you can do things that normally need a mouse, trackpad, or other input device."Siri Light ColorsThe Spotlight Search Tips Cheat Sheet for Mac — Discover how to find files faster, track flights and stock prices, convert currencies, and do a lot more with Spotlight on macOS.Color Hex - ColorHexa.comGoogle Sheets function list - Google Docs Editors Help — "Google Sheets supports cell formulas typically found in most desktop spreadsheet packages. Functions can be used to create formulas that manipulate data and calculate strings and numbers."TableFlip - Simple Table Editor for Mac — "_The_ Markdown table editor."IMPORTHTML - Google Docs Editors Help — "Imports data from a table or list within an HTML page."Ask about your data & get suggested content - Computer - Google Docs Editors Help — "You can ask questions about the data in your spreadsheet. Based on your data, you’ll get suggestions for formatting, charts, and analysis."

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Episode 594: Honey Sun Bear

    Episode 594: Honey Sun Bear

    Fortunately, Merlin had thoroughly prepared for 62 minutes of lizards, Morgellons, animal powers, and Tom Cruise.





    Links:
    Ruby on Mac: Get Ruby working on your Mac in minutes with a single command.The Vanishing of America's Drive-Thru Fotomats - YouTubePanWriterPlizzanet Earth with Snoop Dogg – Iguana vs. Snakes - YouTubeMorgellons - WikipediaChemtrails,SA Geoengineering,Morgellons. The Dark Agenda of Synthetic Biology.Full Power point - YouTube

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

Macioce ,

Laa-La-La

I’ve been a listener for over a decade now. Fun and helpful show for anyone that works a jobby job, manages personal technology, streams movies, or deals with some degree of stress and anxiety. I guess you could say this show is what I want (“what I want”).

instanttaylor ,

Still great after all this time.

The degree of difficulty of having a podcast for 10 years and keeping it relevant and interesting is high. I think Dan and Merlin have been able to do this by basically just being themselves. I’ve listened since episode 1 during an interesting work transition in my life and never looked back.

Daniel Rutherford ,

It’s always two things

2nd: I mean this in a well-intentioned way: Merlin should probably see an actual honest to God (maybe different) Psychologist or Therapist and consider tweaking down the ADHD meds because they are making the obsessions worse, it’s plainly obvious after a decade+ when he’s in a rut or not like, sure we can all get in to, but the obsessions over the last year or two have really gone to the next level in a way that I think could harm his audience.

1st: That said, this is Merlin’s work product and it suffers when he does, and if you don’t step back and pay close attention, looking past the repetitive bits and sometimes genuine camaraderie (which is great when it happens, ROTL is still excellent as always) it’s easy to miss the slide this show has taken because its host has been suffering.

I think having it in your ears every week can actually be detrimental because the neuroses are just normalized after hearing someone constantly re-frame similar repetitive obsessions, which seem to be cycling every 1-3 months if you listen to his other shows. In particular the last couple years this has gotten significantly worse and I genuinely hope he gets some different kind of help because when he’s on he’s still ON, but the hypomania-like world ending months-long level of focus on something like home automation, or sleep/health tracking, etc. just seems unhealthy, and I no longer think it’s a persona he’s putting on for entertainment.

The Trauma book is a great example of something Merlin encountered that has a profound effect on him where he could have done the work for months offline with professionals once he was impacted, but instead the defense mechanisms go up and he shares advice with an audience about how it’s a good way to explain OTHER people. It very clearly affected him, it came up for months on end, and what changed as a result, introspectively? THAT is the stuff that could be profound. But he needs to be willing to do that work, and it is very very hard. I truly feel for him. But working out what it actually means with a podcast co-host is not even in the same universe as therapy with a professional who is equipped to help navigate these things, and too often it’s re-framed in a way to an audience that I do think could be kind of dangerous, i.e. your world view will be informed by someone who themselves is basically working through deep issues on a podcast which doesn’t have the trained professional on the other end going “wait, hold on, this is a cognitive distortion.” And frankly that’s something a podcast co-host should not be put in a position to navigate.

The bathroom sanitization discussion from years ago which other reviews mention was Dan talking about genuine OCD and it’s sort of ironic that Dan seems to have handled some unknown major life events in way that has kept him grounded and even-keeled and I think some of that advice vs. the mania of the month would actually help a lot more people at this point.

I want to love it, and I recognize that things change, and I am so grateful for the help and direction I got from these folks years ago… but now I’m kind of at a loss as to what the point is except to hear an older para-social friend slowly unravel in real-time.

And yeah, this is kind of none of my business, to make any judgment about a total stranger. However, this is all based on public content released every week across multiple venues, some of which I pay for the privilege of accessing. I’m not saying I’m entitled to anything, I just hope my ‘internet friend’ gets some honest to God help, because I’m worried about him.

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